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Broad realisation of the disparities experienced by both patients and healthcare workers, undoubtedly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to greater efforts to improve the awareness of the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within leadership. In England, the Messenger Review, a report commissioned by the Health Secretary in 2021 into leadership and management in the health and care sector emphasised the need for ‘embed(ding) inclusive leadership practice as the responsibility of all leaders’.1
The Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) International Conference 2022 invited clinical and academic leaders from across the globe to share their expertise and reflections on how to create equitable and inclusive cultures throughout a range of sessions. There was a clear appreciation of the need for diverse voices, for a space for meaningful introspection and for an opportunity for critical dialogue, in order to develop the skills required to lead inclusively and to share actionable steps to move towards equitable and just healthcare systems. The sessions were incredibly powerful with the perfect blend of data and stories. As frequently quoted by Brene Brown:
If you don’t have the data and you don’t have the story, you don’t have what it takes to move people.2
This commentary aims to draw on the inspiring content that was shared during the conference on the topic of EDI, and will be underpinned by existing literature and personal reflection. It will begin by first defining the relevant terms and will then proceed to exploring the why of the work, followed by the steps that were felt to have the potential to lead to meaningful progress in this space.
Diversity refers to any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups, or people, from one another due to various differing characteristics including gender, age, ethnicity, …
Contributors RY is the sole author.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.